International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Defense Lawyer Doubts Witness Worked Closely with Ongwen

A defense lawyer challenged a former fighter of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) on some of the details of his testimony about the LRA’s attack on the Odek camp for people displaced by the conflict in northern Uganda. That attack took place in 2003.

Abigail Bridgman on Monday also questioned whether Witness P-054 was present during an LRA attack on the Abok camp for internally displaced people (IDP).

Witness P-054 had testified on Friday that he took part in the attacks on the Abok and Odek IDP camps. At the time, the witness was as a member of the LRA’s Sinia Brigade, and he said the commander of that brigade was Dominic Ongwen.

Bridgman is one of the lawyers representing Ongwen, who is on trial … Continue Reading

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Court to Rule on Appeal of Historic Sepur Zarco Sexual Violence Verdict

On July 19, the High Risk Appellate Court in Guatemala will announce its resolution on three appeals presented by two former military officials convicted last year in the historic Sepur Zarco sexual violence case. The appeals seek to overturn the February 26, 2016 verdict by High Risk Tribunal A, presided over by Judge Yassmín Barrios.

The trial court found Lieutenant Colonel Esteelmer Reyes Girón, former commander of Sepur Zarco military base, and former military commissioner Heriberto Valdez Asig, guilty of all charges, sentencing them to 120 and 240 years respectively.

The trial court sentenced both military officials to 30 years in prison for crimes against humanity against 15 women who were the victims of sexual violence and sexual and domestic slavery. In … Continue Reading

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Witness Describes Being Under Heavy Fire During Attack on Abok IDP Camp

A former fighter with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) about his role in attacks on the Abok and Odek camps for internally displaced people (IDP) that occurred 13 years ago.

Witness P-054 told the court on Friday he took part in the attacks as a member of the LRA’s Sinia Brigade. He said Dominic Ongwen was the brigade commander of Sinia at the time of the attacks.

Ongwen is on trial for his alleged role in the attacks on the Abok and Odek IDP camps in 2004. He has also been charged for his alleged role in attacks on two other IDP camps, namely Lukodi and Pajule. He faces a total of 70 counts of war … Continue Reading

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In Testimony at ICC, Ntaganda Denies Killing a Priest

War crimes accused Bosco Ntaganda has denied accusations that he killed a priest in the Congolese town of Mongbwalu 15 years ago. Testifying in his own defense at the International Criminal Court (ICC), the former rebel commander stated that he only learned of the death of the priest after surrendering to the court based in The Hague in March 2013.

“When you said you know nothing about [Abbe Boniface] Bwanalonga, was that the case?” asked defense lawyer Stéphane Bourgon, referring to the priest who prosecutors claim was murdered by Ntaganda.

“Yes, I did not know anything about it,” replied Ntaganda, adding that the death of the priest came to his attention while he was reviewing unspecified documents following his arrival at the … Continue Reading

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Lors de son témoignage apporté devant la CPI, M. Ntaganda nie avoir tué un prêtre

L’accusé de crimes de guerre Bosco Ntaganda a nié les accusations selon lesquelles il avait tué un prêtre il y a 15 ans dans la ville congolaise de Mongbwalu. Témoignant pour sa propre défense devant la Cour pénale internationale (CPI), l’ancien commandant rebelle a déclaré qu’il n’avait appris le décès du prêtre qu’après qu’il se soit rendu à la Cour basée à La Haye en mars 2013.

« Lorsque vous dîtes que vous ne savez rien au sujet de [l’Abbé Boniface] Bwanalonga, est-ce exact ? », a demandé l’avocat de la défense Stéphane Bourgon, faisant référence au prêtre qui, selon les affirmations des procureurs, aurait été tué par M. Ntaganda.

« Oui, je ne sais rien à ce sujet », a répondu M. Ntaganda, ajoutant qu’il avait eu connaissance de la … Continue Reading

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Former LRA Intelligence Officer Says Ongwen Led Group that Abducted Civilians in Pajule

A former intelligence officer of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) told the International Criminal Court (ICC) Dominic Ongwen led one of the groups that attacked the Pajule camp for internally displaced people (IDP) 13 years ago.

Witness P-144 told the court that the LRA attacked the Pajule IDP camp in October 2003 using three different groups of fighters. He said he was in the group that attacked the barracks, and Ongwen led the group that went to abduct civilians and loot the Pajule trading center. Witness P-144 said a senior commander, Raska Lukwiya, had operational command over the three groups.

The witness testified on Tuesday and Wednesday in the trial of Ongwen, a former LRA commander. Ongwen has been charged with 10 … Continue Reading

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Childhood Friend of LRA Leader Testifies About Attack on Odek

A childhood friend of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), told the International Criminal Court (ICC) how Kony’s character changed once he became involved in the rebellion in northern Uganda in the mid-1980s.

Lakoch Par Oyoo told the court on Monday that Kony was a happy person before he started fighting the Ugandan government. Oyoo said Kony became rude and ferocious after spending some time in the northern Uganda rebellion.

Oyoo was testifying in the trial of a former LRA commander, Dominic Ongwen, which resumed after a 19-day break. Ongwen has been charged for his alleged role in attacks on four camps for people displaced by the conflict in northern Uganda. The camps he is alleged to have … Continue Reading

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Reactions from the Local Population to Collective Reparations in the Katanga Case

The below article is from our partner at Radio Canal Révélation, a radio station based in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The article was produced as part of the radio station’s Interactive Radio for Justice and Peace Project, which promotes discussion on critical issues around justice in DRC. The views conveyed in this article are those of the people interviewed and do not necessarily represent the views of all the members of the community or those of the victims.  

Several dozen victims of crimes committed by Germain Katanga in the village of Bogoro, in Ituri Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), are waiting impatiently for the reparations ordered by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“We want to … Continue Reading

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Réactions de la population locale sur les réparations collectives dans l’affaire Katanga

Cet article a été préparé par notre partenaire Radio Canal Révélation, une station radio basée à Bunia, en République démocratique du Congo (RDC), dans le cadre d’un projet de radio interactive pour la justice et la paix qui favorise la mise en débat des questions touchant à la justice en RDC. Les vues de la population relayées dans cet article sont celles des personnes interviewées et ne représentent pas forcément les vues de tous les membres de la communauté ni celles des victimes.

Plusieurs dizaines de victimes des crimes commis par Germain Katanga dans la localité de Bogoro, dans la province de l’Ituri en République démocratique du Congo (RDC), attendent impatiemment la réparation ordonnée par la Cour pénale internationale (CPI).

« Nous voulons … Continue Reading

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Ntaganda Maintains That UPC Militia Rejected Underage Recruits

Former Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda has maintained that the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia in which he was a top commander screened its recruits to weed out individuals who did not meet requirements, such as those underage. He said recruits deemed too young to serve in the group were sent back to their homes.

Testifying in his own trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ntaganda stated that the screening that was enforced at the group’s main training camp in Mandro also applied at other camps, such as Rwampara. However, he did not state what exact age was considered unacceptable for admission into the militia.

“When you went to Rwampara [training camp], did you notice any recruits who did not … Continue Reading

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